It is not only difficult, but really impossible for anyone to fully grasp the meaning of eternity. No one really knows when time began and when time will end. No man saw the beginning, nor can any man see the end. The only thing we can say with certainty about eternity is that it never stands still. We just have to trust God that He knows because He was there when time began and He will be in existence forever. Habakkuk exclaimed in Habakkuk 1:12, “Art thou not from everlasting, O Lord my God, mine Holy One?”
In the wonderful prayer of our Lord recorded in John 17, Jesus said, “And this is life eternal, that they may know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent” (vs. 3). In other words, everlasting life is to know God, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom He sent. But how do we get to “know” God and Jesus Christ?
We get to “know” God by believing what He has said. In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” When we receive the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Saviour, He gives us His life, which is eternal. He said in John 14:19, “Because I live, ye shall live also.” God led Paul to write in Colossians 3:3-4, “For ye are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear then shall ye also appear with him in glory.”
One of the most familiar truths in the Scripture is that which Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:7, “Ye must be born again.” Jesus knew the natural man would die. Hebrews 9:27 states, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” Only the life that God gives when we believe on the Lord Jesus is eternal. What do we believe concerning the Lord Jesus ? The gospel that saves is simply stated: “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” (I Cor. 15:3-4)
Eternal not only refers to the duration of the life that God gives, but also to its quality. It not only speaks of a future position but also of a very present reality. And wonder of wonders, it cannot be lost or taken from us! Jesus said in John 10:28, “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”
Our eternal life is in God’s hand, not ours. Our assurance depends on God’s faithfulness, not on our weakness. Paul was led to write, “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day” (II Tim. 1: 12).
Yes, the eternal life God gives is as eternal as God is. And, yes, the eternal life He gives is the eternal life we should live. If you have not as yet trusted Jesus Christ for eternal life, remember the Scripture says, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36).